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Union Stages ‘Work-In’ at Hillside, Calls for BC to Drop Appeal

The Boston College Graduate Employees Union staged a “work-in” at Hillside Cafe yesterday, calling upon the University to drop its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

A number of supporters of the union organized to do their work, displaying signs on the back of their chairs that read “I’m working on …” followed by their subject matter. Also on display were large signs made to gather students’ attention. Passersby could hear union members talk about the cause and even see “Union Memes.”

The union voted for collective bargaining rights with BC in September. But the University has asked for the NLRB to review its decision in granting the union an election.

“Our position remains that our graduate students are best characterized as students–not employees–and that the collegial relationship that exists between our faculty and students would be irreparably altered through graduate student unionization,” University Spokesman Jack Dunn said in an email to The Heights last month. “In addition, as a faith-based institution, we assert that Boston College should be exempt from the jurisdiction of the NLRB in accordance with the 1979 Supreme Court decision NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago.”

“From their NLRB appeal, the administration’s position is clear: they are unwilling to share power and will go to lengths to avoid it,” according to a Facebook post from the union. “They refuse to respect our democratic vote for unionization and are unwilling to acknowledge that we are workers as well as students.”

Members have staged a number of rallies in the past few months to call upon the University to drop its appeal to the NLRB, including a silent protest while University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., spoke at the annual Christmas tree-lighting last week, a gathering on the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s election, and a rally by students and faculty in October.

The next step for the union is to select nominations to its bargaining committee. Graduate employees determined the structure of the committee last month. According to its website, the committee will have five members, and one of each will be elected from GMCAS Natural Sciences, GMCAS Humanities and Social Sciences, GLSOE, GCSON and GSSW, and GCSOM and the BC Law School. The union noted in a Nov. 27 Facebook comment that it has not yet set a date for this to occur.

Featured Image by Boston College Graduate Employees Union

December 12, 2017